Most of the hundreds gathered at the hunger strike venue in Chepauk had been fasting with the leaders since 8 am.

At AIADMK fast in Chennai solemn cadres vow to fulfil Jayas promise
news Cauvery Hunger Strike Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - 21:33

The sweltering heat of an April afternoon in Chennai didn’t seem to deter hundreds of AIADMK party supporters who gathered on Tuesday for the day long hunger strike in Chepauk.  

Paper fans were swished and conversations sparked even as the top brass of the ruling party including Chief Minister EPS, Deputy CM OPS and Senior Minister D Jayakumar among others solemnly sat on the dais as loud MGR music blared out of the big black speakers on the side.

Lead by the ruling party, the 9 am to 5 pm hunger strike was AIADMK’s protest against the Centre's delay in forming the Cauvery Management Board. Most of those gathered at the venue, which was near the MLA hostel in Chepuak, had been fasting along with their leaders the entire day.

“We are here to protest against the injustice meted out to us by denying us Cauvery water. From morning we have not eaten a morsel of food. Just like Amma (late CM J Jayalalithaa) fought for Cauvery, we too are here to fight,” said Shanti K, a party supporter from RA puram in Chennai.

Shanthi was one among the group of women eagerly seated right next to the dais where the prominent faces of the ruling party sat.

Divulging her allegiance, Shanthi stated that she was a staunch follower of Amma and after Amma, now she followed OPS.

Shanthi’s friend Devi Yogasekaran, who is a deputy unit secretary of the AIADMK, chips in.

“Today we fasted. Now if they (the party leaders) want, tomorrow too we will be ready to fast. Anything for Cauvery water,” she says.

Next to her was Cauvery, a shy lady in a black and white saree and red bindi, who turned back to find out what the commotion was about.

When asked how she got her name, Cauvery (45) a party unit secretary at the seven mills constituency laughs shyly and says that her uncle had given her the name when she was born.

“I am not sure if I was named after the river. But now that I am fighting for my namesake, I feel pride and I want continue the protest for what is rightfully ours,” she says.

“Most of those who have come are from Chennai. There are very few who have come from outside. Nobody has even touched a sip of water the entire day,” the ladies reassure us even as water bottles were getting supplied in crates throughout the venue.

The women ushered in Kumari Narayanan, who they referred to as the ‘main person,’ to be interviewed. Dressed in a bright green saree, Kumari who is the North Chennai district deputy party secretary, gave her take on the issue.

“I have been with the party since 1989. In 2001 I was an councilor with the AIADMK. We will continue to strike until we get the issue sorted and as long as the leaders are fasting, we too will fast,” she says.

In the distance, a middle aged man, dressed up like MGR, was waving and greeting those in attendance. Complete with MGR’s iconic cap, the man stood and greeted even as old MGR tracks ran in the background.

Following the end of the hunger strike at 5, CM EPS addressed the gathering

“It's going to be 5. Myself and OPS and other party functionaries began this fast from morning. Till now, we haven't moved from our place. All our media friends saw. That is AIADMK. Our movement was created so we can achieve what we want to achieve,” Chief Minister Palanisamy said amidst much cheer among the seated crowds.

Speaking about the centre's failure to implement the Cauvery Management Board, EPS says, “The SC verdict came on 16/2/2018. Even before that our Amma has been constantly asking the centre to set up the management board. The centre never did. Even after the verdict came out, the centre has refused to implement the Supreme Court verdict of setting up the management board.”

Addressing the crowd, which consisted of only AIADMK supporters EPS adds, "The agreement for the Cauvery Board should have been signed way back in 1974. Everybody knows who the ruling party was back then. It was the DMK. By failing to do so DMK has inflicted massive cruelty on the farmers of TN." 

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.